“Don't forget the poorest of the poor”

Development aid project in Rwanda © Jesko Johannsen

Just over a year ago, the UN member states adopted the 2030 Agenda. Welthungerhilfe and terre des hommes have now drawn up an initial assessment – with light, but also clear shadows.

It was a milestone and, after a long struggle, caused a worldwide sigh of relief: just over a year ago, on 25. In New York, on September 7, the UN member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next 15 years. Aid agencies, churches and non-governmental organizations praised its comprehensive and universal character. Unlike its predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda applies to all countries, including Germany. "Every country has its tasks," stressed the program director of terre des hommes, Albert Recknagel, in Berlin on Wednesday.

Together with Welthungerhilfe, the children's aid organization has drawn up an initial balance sheet. This year, the "Compass 2030" takes a look at the implementation of the development goals. Every year since 1993, the two aid organizations have analyzed the "reality of development policy," as they put it. The new format is not so much a scientific report as an appeal to those with political responsibility.

"Germany basically on the right track"

For the Chairman of Welthungerhilfe, Till Wahnbaeck, this is also an occasion for positive words: "Germany is basically on the right track."In some areas, however, the course still needs to be corrected and the speed increased. The German sustainability strategy is to be adopted by the end of the year. The signal for a new beginning is still missing, according to the analysis.

In a comparison of countries in the OECD Development Assistance Committee, Germany's donor record is quite good in terms of the total amount, but significantly worse in terms of its share of gross national income. Here, Germany ranks only ninth among the top ten countries, behind countries such as Sweden, Norway and Luxembourg, or even Great Britain.

More commitment to the poorest of the poor

Both aid agencies call for the main course correction in the commitment to the poorest of the poor. Funding for German development aid had increased, but not for the least developed countries.

"Among the top 10 recipient countries of German development aid in 2014, there were only two from the group of least developed countries, none of them from sub-Saharan Africa," Wahnbaeck complained. Aid for the least developed countries must be expanded by at least half, he said.

The aid organizations are also critical of the fact that the financial increase in development aid is primarily due to the inclusion of ODA funds for refugee care in Germany. Germany's development aid quota rose from 0.42 to 0.52 percent of gross national income in the previous year. "The funds must be neatly separated," Wahnbaeck demanded.

To combat the core problem of hunger worldwide, the pace must also be tripled, he said. There are still 800 million hungry people worldwide. Against this background, Wahnbaeck called for an increase in the federal budget for development aid of around 500 million euros in the area of food security.

Investment in education and training

Recknagel called for a stronger focus on education and training for women and children. "Development cooperation must make targeted investments in those left behind," Recknagel said. "Short-term fire-fighting missions" in crisis areas are necessary, but are no substitute for combating the causes of flight, such as lack of economic prospects.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the average age is just over 18 years old. The many young people need education to build their own lives in their home countries. At this point, the two aid organizations would also like to see more long-term projects and aid from the German government.

German development aid is not as efficient as it could be, Wahnbaeck explained. This is mainly due to the small-scale nature of the projects. The watering can principle has not proven itself in the past and will not in the future. Instead, all relevant political areas, from agricultural policy to development cooperation and economic policy, must pull together in the long term.

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